The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) conducts regular audits of labour hire employers to ensure that they are meeting their obligations under Australian workplace laws.

However, the most recent audit of 63 labour hire employers during the 2019/20 financial year revealed that a substantial 79% did not fulfil their obligations under Australian workplace laws, including not paying their workers correctly or giving their workers payslips, and failing to keep proper records.

The ABCC noted the complex, triangular relationship involved in labour hire agreements – consisting of labour hire businesses supplying a worker to a host employer for an agreed fee – is often a precarious one, particularly for workers, which often discourages them from speaking out about their working conditions.

The ABCC inspectors assess time and wage records for compliance against the Fair Work Act 2009, the Fair Work Regulations 2009 and the relevant awards or enterprise agreements when conducting the audit, which recovered $563,860 for 1337 employees during the 2019/20 financial year, and has recovered more than $2.1 million in wages and entitlements for 3174 construction workers since December 2016.

Given the often inconsistent and precarious nature of work experienced by workers under labour hire agreements, as well as the ramifications faced by labour hire businesses when they fail to fulfil their obligations to workers, it is vital that businesses ensure they have up to date labour hire agreements that comply with Australian workplace laws.